Skip to main content

Carnegie Foundation honors Butler, IUPUI and Marian for community engagement efforts


Mlk Day of Service, Monday, January 20, 2013. Prentess Prior uses a paint roller to paint the outside of a box that will be used to collect food donations for Paws Pantry.


INDIANAPOLIS — Three universities in Indianapolis — Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Marian University — have received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for 2015, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has announced.

This designation is given to colleges and universities that have developed mutually beneficial partnerships with local organizations and surrounding communities. The classification recognizes the ongoing involvement of college students, staff, faculty and community partners to improve the quality of life in Central Indiana and beyond.

Butler and Marian universities received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for the first time. IUPUI, first recognized in 2006, was re-classified this year because of its deepened commitment to programs that support community partnerships and engaged student learning.

“The classification recognizes our commitment to partnering with communities as we provide experiential learning opportunities,” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “Our students connect with the community, and together we serve the common good.”

In award notification letters to the three universities, representatives of the Carnegie Foundation said their applications “documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

In earning the Carnegie classification, Butler is recognized for programs such as its Indianapolis Community Requirement, a unique component of Butler’s core curriculum through which all students take at least one course involving active engagement with the Indianapolis community.

Other programs across Butler’s six academic colleges also encourage community engagement, including the Butler-Shortridge partnership, through which students and faculty in Butler’s education and creative writing programs collaborate with Indianapolis Public Schools students at Shortridge Magnet High School; and partnerships with local organizations such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, The Immigrant Welcome Center and A Caring Place.

Butler’s work in the community also includes the Butler Community Arts School, which provides low- and no-cost music and arts education to hundreds of students across the community; the Community Screening Practicum, through which Butler students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program conduct speech, language and hearing screenings for children enrolled in Indianapolis community schools; and Generation Rx, a joint effort of Butler Student Association of Pharmacy and students of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences that strives to educate and raise awareness about prescription drug misuse both at Butler and in the Indianapolis community.

Since IUPUI received its first Carnegie Communication Classification in 2006, the civic and community engagement work of the campus locally and internationally has become more diffuse, involving multiple centers, schools and faculty initiatives.

“Commitment to community engagement is in IUPUI’s DNA,” Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “The campus was created in large part to serve the Indianapolis and Central Indiana communities.”

Going forward, Bantz said IUPUI will continue to deepen the campus culture for community engagement by supporting the engagement of students, faculty and staff.

Among areas IUPUI will focus on are: creating a competitive workforce, by partnering more strategically with businesses on degree completion certificates in high-need areas; fostering student achievement, by partnering with local high schools in after-school programming, tutoring and STEM programs; building strong communities, by addressing common goals identified in neighborhood Quality of Life plans; improving the health of a diverse population, by leveraging campus resources, particularly to support community-engaged research; and fostering sustainability and promoting the environment, through the continued work of initiatives such as the Center for Earth and Environmental Science.

As with the other two universities, community engagement is part of Marian University’s mission and identity, which calls for “service to the world,” said Daniel J. Elsener, Marian University president.

“Our Franciscan values shape and guide students’ educational and moral formation as responsible citizens serving the world,” Elsener said. “These values and engagement are exemplified in civically engaged university initiatives.”

Among those initiatives are Students Taking Active Reflective Roles; Alternative Spring Break, in which students take mission trips; San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership, for students who are considering a career in ministry; 21st Century Scholars Program; First-Year Experience Day of Service; and the Leighton School of Nursing program for medical faith-based mission work in Haiti.

Marian University offers 22 for-credit service learning programs in which 400 students, or nearly 20 percent of the undergraduate student body, enrolled. Twenty-eight faculty taught these courses. Marian University also has a Hispanic Advisory Board that assesses external perceptions of Marian’s commitment to Hispanic civic education through the Indiana Latino Institute, La Plaza of Indiana, and the Latino Division of the Girl Scouts.

In addition, Marian University manages Indiana Teach for America and Indianapolis Teaching Fellows. These teaching engagement programs include community perceptions and evaluations and impact on community in terms of teaching needs.

A total of 240 U.S. colleges and universities were selected to receive the 2015 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. Of this number, 83 received the classification for the first time, while 157 are now reclassified, after being classified originally in 2006 or 2008. These 240 institutions join 121 institutions that earned the classification during the 2010 selection process, including Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The Carnegie Foundation, through the work of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, developed the first typology of American colleges and universities in 1970 as a research tool to describe and represent the diversity of U.S. higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education — which is now housed at Indiana University Bloomington’s Center for Postsecondary Research — continues to be used for a wide range of purposes by academic researchers, institutional personnel, policymakers and others.